Burning Man, Buds, and Busts: Rules for Consideration


Held in the Black Rock Desert of Northwestern Nevada, the annual Burning Man festival could be more accurately described as a communal gathering of the artistic tribes. Set to spark the imagination of the creatively inclined on August 27, Burning Man’s temporary community – Black Rock City – is also a hotbed for police activity.

Despite Nevada’s voters legalizing recreational marijuana last November, attendees headed out to the remote desert location to embrace the purity of madness on the playa should be cognizant of a few important facts:

Burning Man Occurs On Federal Land

The Black Rock Desert

The Black Rock Desert

The Black Rock Desert and the Burning Man event are held on federal land governed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), any recreational marijuana possession is considered a criminal offense. Individuals with a medical marijuana card who are caught with their medicine on BLM land would face civil charges rather than criminal.

Gifting Marijuana Is Trafficking

Giving anyone marijuana is considered trafficking

Giving anyone marijuana is considered trafficking

Providing marijuana to others as a “gift” is still considered drug trafficking under federal law. Those caught selling marijuana at Burning Man or those who are found in possession of more than 1 ounce of pot will likely be prosecuted under Nevada law.

Gate Road Precautions

The main gate road entrance is loaded with law enforcement

The main gate road entrance is loaded with law enforcement

The Gate Road entrance is a law enforcement gauntlet. Also on federal property, the main entrance to the Burning Man Festival is loaded with police personnel. Make sure to fix any broken tail lights or other potential minor infractions.

No Weed At Burning Man

No burning weed at Burning Man

No burning weed at Burning Man

Sure, you can buy recreational marijuana in Nevada but anyone caught smoking in Black Rock City or their personal camps could face a citation of $675.

Marijuana DUI Threshold


Discofish DUI

Nevada law enforcement views individuals driving with more than 2 ng of THC in their blood as impaired — even if you’re driving a Discofish.

Undercover To Cash In

Beware of teenage narcs

Beware of teenage narcs

Law enforcement comes in all shapes and sizes at Burning Man. Policed by BLM law enforcement, the FBI, and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Department, the nine-day event is an annual money maker for local law enforcement.


A therapeutic experience for the majority of attendees – those who bring weed need to stay alert and keep their stash in the tent or RV.

Photos Courtesy of The BLM and Flickr

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.


  1. Eric R. Johnson on

    Ladies and Gentlemen: As a Reno Native, take your burning man somewhere else. We don’t want you here.

    That law enforcement gauntlet is not there because we like you.

    Stay the heck off a place where people cannot live, anyway. It’s miserable and cold/hot and sandy. No shade. No trees. No water.

    Find somewhere with grass and trees in Iowa to do this. Do you realize the carbon footprint it takes to have 70,000 motor homes converge on Northern Nevada?

    And you cannot even smoke pot unless you go home.

    The self harm and suffering which accrues to people who go to this purposefully baren and desolate place is remarkable.

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